The final step of the Snowflake Method is to sit down and write the book. By this point, you should know what’s happening in each scene and where each character is development wise. I go through draft by draft, trying to do at minimum a chapter a day. The first draft started super detailed, with nearly complete chapters filled with dialogue, but as the book wore on, the draft got more and more rough as I’d recognize things my outline hadn’t accounted for or places the creative process took over. I’d go back to the appropriate chapters before and make notes to make the changes next draft, then forge on a head. The further I got into the book, the less stable the draft was because at a certain point, everything relies on what comes first. I found myself doing a lot less actual dialogue and opposition and more “And then this thing happens so that happened” summaries between the dialogue and narrative I knew had to be in the scene.
But I had a first draft within a month.
The second draft I focused much more on characters. Because my story is told in dual points of view via first person narrators, I have to take special care that my characters voices never muddle in their POV chapters. I also have to make sure they only know what they know. And I need to make sure the story from their POV is a complete arc without the other POV. The other POV should enhance their story, add detail, but not tell it if that makes sense.
So for draft two, instead of starting chapter 1,2,3 and working my way to the end, I wrote chapters 1, 3, 5, 7, all the way until the end. Once finished with a character, I read through their story, making notes of what needs to be expanded in the other POV and making sure it reads smoothly. Then I took it through writers group and made notes of points where they got confused based on information missing from the other half of the story and made sure to flag those points by making sure either my character was also lost or the scene needed to clarify that section for the first character was really well laid out in the second character’s pov.
Then I did the same thing for the second POV.
This process took a little over a month, but mostly because there were parts where I had to wait on input from others. This draft got rid of all summary and shifted the entire book into story mode. By the time I finished this draft (it’s really more of a combined draft 2, 3, and 4 because I go over it 3 times. First while writing it, then while reviewing it for smoothness, then to make changes based on feedback), I was ready to send it to my editor for content edits. The story goes through two sets of content edits with my publisher, so while I wait to hear back from them, I take it through my writers group in 5,000 word chunks for draft 5. This is by far the longest lasting draft time wise.
Why go through writers group again? I’ve found the more eyes on a story the better. 90% of the time they’re flagging the same things my editor does, but that 10% of the time they catch some random inconsistency or say “hey, wait, I’m confused. Why doesn’t she just xyz” can make or break the story.
This is my favorite part of the whole process. The story just gets better with every draft. And the snowflake method made the earliest part of the process, what’s generally the hardest for me, much, much, much better.
How’s it worked out for you?